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The wellspring of modern knowledge of Norse mythology, these ancient legends of gods and heroes were created to preserve the narrative style of the Viking sagas from European influence.
Part of a new series Legends from the Ancient North, The Elder Edda is one of the classic books that influenced JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings 'So the company of men led a careless life, All was well with them: until One began To encompass evil, an enemy from hell. Grendel they called this cruel spirit...' J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocacy of Beowulf as a great work of literature and, even if he had never written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, would be recognised today as a significant figure in the rediscovery of these extraordinary tales. Legends from the Ancient North brings together from Penguin Classics five of the key works behind Tolkien's fiction.They are startling, brutal, strange pieces of writing, with an elemental power brilliantly preserved in these translations.They plunge the reader into a world of treachery, quests, chivalry, trials of strength.They are the most ancient narratives that exist from northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of the magical landscape of Middle-earth (Midgard) which Tolkien remade in the 20th century.
"This is a book of the highest importance. No one should attempt to teach about Viking society or claim to understand it without being familiar with this chilling and enduring myth."--Eleanor Searle, author of Predatory Kinship & the Creation of Norman Power "Byock's translation is excellent, but his thorough introduction is of equal scholarly importance. . . . His section on Richard Wagner's use of the Volsung material in writing his Ring will expand the topic toward modern Wagnerians."--Michael Bell, University of Colorado "The Saga of the Volsungs is one of the most important texts of Old Icelandic literature, with its treatment of Old Scandinavian heroic traditions. . . . The most difficult part of the text to translate is, of course, the poetry, but also here the translator has been successful."--Vésteinn Olason, University of Oslo
Fantastic sagas of Norse mythology, these 17 imaginative retellings include Odin's search for knowledge, origins of Thor's hammer, loss of Idun's wondrous apples, securing the dreaded Fenris-wolf, and much more.
"The poems of the Poetic Edda have waited a long time for a Modern English translation that would do them justice. Here it is at last (Odin be praised!) and well worth the wait. These amazing texts from a 13th-century Icelandic manuscript are of huge historical, mythological and literary importance, containing the lion's share of information that survives today about the gods and heroes of pre-Christian Scandinavians, their unique vision of the beginning and end of the world, etc. Jackson Crawford's modern versions of these poems are authoritative and fluent and often very gripping. With their individual headnotes and complementary general introduction, they supply today's readers with most of what they need to know in order to understand and appreciate the beliefs, motivations, and values of the Vikings." --Dick Ringler, Professor Emeritus of English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Poetic Edda comprises a treasure trove of mythic and spiritual verse holding an important place in Nordic culture, literature, and heritage. Its tales of strife and death form a repository, in poetic form, of Norse mythology and heroic lore, embodying both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during the late heathen and early Christian times. Collected by an unidentified Icelander, probably during the twelfth or thirteenth century, The Poetic Edda was rediscovered in Iceland in the seventeenth century by Danish scholars. Even then its value as poetry, as a source of historical information, and as a collection of entertaining stories was recognized. This meticulous translation succeeds in reproducing the verse patterns, the rhythm, the mood, and the dignity of the original in a revision that Scandinavian Studies says "may well grace anyone's bookshelf."
Retells thirty-two Scandinavian myths that have intrigued countless generations with stories of gods, giants, dwarfs, and monsters involved in the creation, development, and ultimate destruction of nine mortal and divine worlds

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